Myths and Realities Associated with Turtles

In cultures worldwide, turtles are said to be creatures that are patient, easy going, and wise.  They have a long lifespan, sturdiness, slow and steady movements, and wrinkled appearance. Symbolising stability and longevity, turtles are loved and adored in all the cultures of the world. Painters, photographers, sculptors and songwriters have used the symbolism of turtles in most of their works – predominantly as the subject.

Sea turtles are ideally used as a symbol of environmentalism these days. However, they are associated with many mythologies all across the globe. This article will talk all about the myths and realities that are associated with turtles and their lives.

myths and realities associated with turtlesMyth 1: It’s very easy to take care of turtles – just buy a nice tank for them.

Reality: Most of you might not know that turtles are wild animals and do not have instinct to be domesticated. They have miles wide territories and binding them in tanks is pure cruelty. If you do it, they will simply stay there stagnant like a caged beast. From human perspective, just imagine spending the rest of your life in a bath tub? A turtle requires a larger habitat like ponds or manmade water bodies to create the appropriate atmosphere and definitely not a tank.

Myth 2: The lifespan of turtle is about five years.

Reality: A well cared turtle can live up to 25-50 years or even more. Turtles lived on earth even before the dinosaurs appeared; they were first seen 200 million years ago. The lifespan of a turtle purely depends on how well its health has been!

Myth 3: Turtles do not need veterinary treatment that is usually given to cats and dogs.

Reality – Of course they also need medical help. Since turtles have very slow metabolism, they do not show any symptoms in the initial stage but only show up when the illness has moved on very far. Some of the symptoms that suggest immediate veterinary attention are – loss of appetite, closed and swollen eyes, sitting stagnant in one place, change in regular patterns, and runny nose and eyes. ,

Myth 4:  Pet store is the best place to buy turtles!

Reality – Pet shops are for selling pet supplies and definitely not pets. There are many unscrupulous pet stores that buy animals from the cruel trappers and sell them. You will not be guaranteed about their health as well since most of them fall ill and die during the transit.   Get a turtle home from the nearest animal rescue centre; just like you do for cats and dogs. Or else you can contact the turtle rescue teams online.

Myth 5:  Turtles burry themselves within the ground and hibernate.

Reality – Some turtles like the box turtles hibernate underground; while some hibernate underwater like the cooters or the red eared sliders.  Different turtles need different habitat to suit them. However, just before winter creeps in and your turtle needs to hibernate make sure its healthy and heavy.

Myth 6: The sounds of turtles are like hissing, alike snakes when they get angry.

Reality – This is a partial truth. A turtle do make the hissing sound, but it’s when they are afraid or picked up suddenly. Due to this quick action, they pull in their heads within the shell and pushes out the air which makes this hissing sound. It’s purely a biological phenomenon.

Myth 7: Turtles eat everything

Reality – This is not at all true; they are carnivores and their eatables are just as same as the worms, fish and snails. Water turtles eat under water only; other turtles should be fed their food specifically.


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